Local doctors look to educate those nervous about COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 10:29 PM, Apr 15, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It was a good day for some who have been waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine. The Erie County Department of Health says many COVID-19 vaccine appointments were open Thursday at ECC South's vaccination site. Most of the 1,000 Moderna doses were given to people without an appointment. People like Melanie Gates.

"I have been trying to get one for months ... and it was nice to just pop in," Melanie Gates of Orchard Park said.

Jericho Road Community Health Center doctors say this availability shows the lack of confidence many have in three different types of FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines.

"Vaccine hesitancy is real and I think, to some extent, we have to speak to it," Dr. Takesha Leonard, East Side Medical Director at Jericho Road Community Health Center, said.

Dr. Leonard is one of two doctors who spoke at a vaccine forum held by the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers, answering questions about the vaccination process.

"People want to know what are the side effects, how will it effect me, does it effect white people different than black people?" Dr. Leonard said.

According to Dr. Leonard, side effects can occur. In most cases, not lasting long. She says that the side effects are worth the good of the vaccine. While she hopes many in Western New York listen to her call for vaccinations, to those that do not, she has some advice.

"If you're not going to get the vaccine or want to put it off," Dr. Leonard said, "then wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing. Do not put your guard down."